Challenge

In 2009, His Holiness the Dalai Lama called on the world to educate the hearts – and not just the minds – of children. In 2013, UX for Good took up his challenge in partnership with The Dalai Lama Center for Peace + Education in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Designers spent two days observing practice and absorbing theory on child development and contemplative practice – in elementary schools, in university and at Heart-Mind 2013, a conference for practitioners in the field.

The positive impact of mindfulness programs on children’s health, behavior and academic performance was both readily apparent and substantiated by rigorous scientific study. Teachers who had integrated mindfulness into lesson plans and classroom management were overwhelmingly supportive of expanding the programs.

So why wasn’t mindfulness part of learning for every child?

Solution

Designers discovered there were two primary obstacles to broad adoption of mindfulness programs in schools. First, mindfulness training was competing with dozens, if not hundreds, of “magic bullet” solutions to challenges in public education — making it very unlikely that school districts and administrators would champion the cause. Second, mindfulness training was a relatively expensive proposition. Program licenses and related materials were pricey, limiting the number of school districts that could afford them.

Champions would have to come – not from the administrative ranks – by from teachers themselves. Also, program costs would have to be dramatically reduced if teachers were to persuade their colleagues to give mindfulness a try.

The designers’ answer was the “Heart-Shaped Toolbox,” a collection of digital tools that allow and encourage teachers to share mindfulness best practices — readings, activities, materials, research and support — with fellow teachers for free. This greatly increases the odds that believers – classroom teachers with first-hand experience of the positive impact of mindfulness programs – can convert the uninitiated. The Toolbox was supplemented by designers’ ideas for engaging school’ communities and extending mindfulness training to parents.

In 2014, The Dalai Lama Center began work on Heart-Mind Online — a rebranded version of the Toolbox.

Partners

Dalai Lama Center
Insight Labs

Designers

Wil Kristin

Wil Kristin

Strategy/Community Lead, Context Partners (Portland)

    Patrick DiMichele

    Patrick DiMichele

    Interaction Design Director, Manifest Digital (Chicago)

      Lee-Sean Huang

      Lee-Sean Huang

      Designer and Educator (New York)

        Judy Siegel

        Judy Siegel

        Sr. UX Designer, CNN Digital (Atlanta)

          Davide Casali

          Davide Casali

          Head of Design, Dachis Group (London)

            Greg Melander

            Greg Melander

            Sr. Experience Design Lead, Microsoft Bing (Seattle)

              Marie-Claire Dean

              Marie-Claire Dean

              Lead Product Designer, Atlassian (Sydney)

                Brian Winters

                Brian Winters

                Design Research Director, Manifest Digital (Chicago)

                  Jason Kunesh

                  Jason Kunesh

                  UX Director, Obama for America (Chicago)

                    Emily Luke

                    Emily Luke

                    Designer and Researcher, ThoughtWorks (SF)

                      Carolyn Chandler

                      Carolyn Chandler

                      UX Director, Manifest Digital (Chicago)

                        Dan Saimo

                        Dan Saimo

                        Visual Systems Team Lead, Microsoft Bing (Seattle)

                          Organizers

                          Jason Ulaszek

                          Jason Ulaszek

                          Founder, UX for Good / EVP, Experience Design, Manifest Digital

                            Jeff Leitner

                            Jeff Leitner

                            Dean, Insight Labs

                              Provocateurs

                              Andrew Benedict-Nelson

                              Andrew Benedict-Nelson

                              Director, Insight Labs

                                Chris Kelly

                                Chris Kelly

                                Senior Consultant, Dalai Lama Center

                                  Yarrow Kraner

                                  Yarrow Kraner

                                  Founder, HATCH Experience

                                    Brad Smith

                                    Brad Smith

                                    Executive Director, WebVisions

                                      Jim Jacoby

                                      Jim Jacoby

                                      Founder, ADMCi

                                        Howell Malham

                                        Howell Malham

                                        Co-Founder, Insight Labs

                                          Sponsors

                                          Bing
                                          RiverRock Partners
                                          SCE
                                          ADMCi
                                          positivity
                                          intel
                                          HATCH